The master of sarcasm strikes again with his latest and most satirical album, Pure Comedy. This marks Josh Tillman’s third album as Father John Misty, which was complemented with a 25 minute short film and includes a 13 minute song. His politically charged energy and quiet anger is evident in the song titles, such as ‘Things It Would Be Helpful To Know Before the Revolution’ and ‘When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay’. The former points out the difficulty of revolution due to our desire to stay at “the top of the food chain”. In the latter, Misty imagines showing God how humans have turned Earth into a living hell.
The love song ‘Smoochie’ is most similar to previous albums, however, the other songs shift more towards societal issues. ‘Two Widely Different Perspectives’ depicts the divides currently in America, both political and religious. Even ‘Birdie’, a song that sounds as though it should be simple and sweet, is stuffed with social commentary about globalism and oppression.
‘The Memo’, the stand out amongst the abundance of lyrically rich songs on this album, discusses the slavery of the modern world and narcissism. The song includes a Siri-like voice saying generic things like “this is totally the song of my summer”, creating a creepy, Black Mirror atmosphere.
There are no musical anomalies such as ‘True Affection’ in 2015’s I Love You HoneyBear. In fact, the songs all have a similar slow pace with a Folk Rock sound. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the songs require multiple listens as well as the necessity to pay closer attention to extract the unique qualities in each song. The similarities in sound bring the lyrics to the foreground, making them even harder hitting.
Misty combines beauty with an intelligent, brutal outlook on the world. I highly recommend Pure Comedy, an uncompromising and relevant album for troubling times.